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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Health chief asked to step down
Campaigners are fighting for the retention of acute services
Campaigners are fighting for the retention of acute services
A senior health trust official has stood down after an emergency meeting ordered by Northern Ireland's health minister.

Following the meeting of Sperrin Lakeland Trust, the body announced that it had asked chief executive Hugh Mills to stand down.

The meeting was ordered by minister Shaun Woodward after he read a risk assessment report on the trust.

The minister said he was "extremely disturbed" by parts of the report.

Earlier this year the trust, which is responsible for running the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen and Tyrone County in Omagh, asked a team of experts to look at number of issues including how they dealt with risky situations.


The report found a series of shortcomings in how things were done.

These included inadequate staffing levels and at times mistakes - known in the health service as adverse clinical incidents - had been made, resulting in patients being put at risk.

The report also recommended the closure of the intensive care unit at Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh.

The unit shut temporarily a few months ago. It has been replaced by a high dependency unit which involves a lower level of staffing.

Health planners had said the population in the south west was too small to run two emergency hospitals.

A decision has been made to end acute care in Omagh and build a new hospital in Enniskillen.

The site of this new hospital just to the north of Enniskillen was announced recently.
Shaun Woodward
Health minister Shaun Woodward ordered emergency meeting
BBC Northern Ireland health correspondent Dot Kirby said that earlier this year, the trust asked a top team of national experts to look at its performance.

"It was this report which alarmed Mr Woodward," she added.

A similar meeting years ago led to the eventual ending of emergency care in the South Tyrone Hospital in Dungannon.

Mr Woodward said he was deeply concerned following the risk assessment report into the trust.

He said: "I am extremely disturbed by the conclusions of this report, especially those relating to the wider organisational issues.

"We must all remember that we are here to put patients first."

The minister said he had asked the trust to produce, as a matter of urgency, a "convincing and credible course of action" in response to the report's recommendations.

Chairman of the Sperrin Lakeland Trust Harry Mullan said Mr Mills had taken a very courageous decision to stand down.

He said the trust would be "rapidly rolling out an action plan" to deal with the criticisms.

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